Minnesota Bans Elective Surgeries in Response to COVID-19
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health care providers must postpone elective surgeries and other medical procedures so they can focus their resources on responding to the anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Tim Walz ordered Thursday.
The order, which also applies to non-emergency dental procedures, followed guidance issued by the federal government this week to delay elective procedures to conserve resources and reduce contact between patients and providers. The order applies starting on Monday at 5 p.m.
“The greatest risk we face during the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our health care systems and limiting their ability to respond to emerging cases,” Walz said in a statement. “This executive order keeps more health care resources open and prioritizes life-saving intervention for COVID-19 patients and other emergency care.”
The order defines nonessential procedures as those that can be delayed without undue risk to the patient’s health. The governor’s office said providers should not postpone treatments that prevent loss of life, permanent dysfunction of an organ or limb, or that risk the spread of cancer.
Some providers had already begun cancellations such as St. Luke’s and Essentia.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota rose to 89 on Thursday, up 12 from the day before, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The new cases included one in Wadena County in north-central Minnesota, the state’s first confirmed case so far north.